State Se. Kip Averitt (R, Waco) has withdrawn from the ballot due to health concerns.
State Sen. Kip Averitt, R-Waco, said Wednesday afternoon that he has ended his re-election campaign, citing health problems.
The decision comes a week and a half after the closing of the filing period to run for state elected office as a Democrat or Republican and leaves Burleson insurance agent Darren Yancy as the sole candidate left to campaign in the GOP primary.
No Democrats have filed to run for Averitt’s seat, which covers McLennan, Coryell, Falls, Bosque, Hill, Navarro, Somervell, Hood, Johnson and Ellis counties.
Averitt, 55, a certified public accountant, has represented Waco since 1992, when he was elected to the state House. He issued a statement to the Tribune-Herald that said in recent years he has struggled to balance health and the interests of his family with his role as a public servant.
“I have been advised that I must now put my health above all else — for me and my family — and it is with deep regret that I announce today the cessation of my Senate campaign,” the release states.
That’s unfortunate. My best wishes to Sen. Averitt for a healthy retirement.
The lack of a Democratic candidate in this race, which would seem to hand this district from the fairly moderate Averitt to the teabagger Yancy, inspired some back and forth and back again about whether the Dems blew an opportunity or were in fact playing it smart. It turns out, however, that Averitt’s announcement comes after the deadline for withdrawing from the ballot. So, not only will he remain an option for Republicans on March 2, as the Quorum Report notes, he could give the Dems a second chance to compete:
If Averitt withdraws after winning the primary, then the Republican District Executive Committee (comprised of the County Chairmen from each of the counties SD 22, Sec 171.054) selects his replacement (not the SREC/SDEC); and the Democratic District Executive Committee also gets to nominate an opponent (Sec. 145.036). No litigation necessary.
Ross Ramsey elaborates.
If Averitt wins the primary — as incumbents generally do — and then quits, Republican Party officials can choose a candidate to replace him. But his departure opens a door for the Democrats. If he’s off the ballot and neither of the major parties has a candidate, both of them — the Republicans and the Democrats — get to add a nominee for the race. What is now on track to be a a Republican race would suddenly be competitive, at least on paper.
If Yancy wins in March, the Democrats don’t get to play. Averitt goes home, Yancy runs in November against a Libertarian, and that’s that.
So there’s that. And though it’s highly unlikely to make for a competitive race – SD22 was pretty darned red in 2008, it at least means there’s still a chance of a better outcome than Sen. Darren Yancy. Keep hope alive, and get those recruitment efforts for 2012 (*) started anyway, just in case.
(*) – Yes, 2012. All Senate seats are up in years that end in 2, which is to say the first election after redistricting. Senators then draw straws to see who has to run again in the next election, and who gets to wait four years.